Behold, the 2018 Aston Martin Vantage in all its lime green glory.
Now, the Vantage is nowhere near as ludicrous as the Valkyrie, nor does it bear the haloed David Brown badge, but it’s still a very special car to the marque. As the best-selling model, it’s the bread and butter of the firm, and the point of entry for aspiring customers. It epitomises the brand’s alchemical blend of comfort, luxury and performance.
The 2018 version is no longer designed by Henrik Fisker, but its sweet lines retain the aesthetics that propelled it to fame. The entry-level Aston is back and better than ever and it’s got decent boot space so you can actually enjoy it on the weekend.
Our last experience in a Vantage saw me heading through Singapore’s city centre in the V12S model. It felt raw, animal-like even, and obnoxiously loud. It kept you on your toes, spinning the wheels in almost every gear. While it was a fantastic car, it wasn’t exactly one you could use everyday.
The latest iteration of the Aston Martin Vantage, however, now packs a modified version of AMG’s widely-used 4.0-litre twin turbocharged V8 engine featuring 503hp and 685Nm of earth-shattering torque. And if you thought the last vantage V8 was loud, expect this one to sound incredulous. Power is fed to the rear wheels via the trusted ZF transmission — now with 8-gears — although there is word that the car will be available with a manual transmission in the near future.
How fast is it? Well, it will snap your neck in 3.6 seconds to 100kph, and with its top speed of 314kph, will either kill you or give you one hell of a story to tell your friends. The engine sits way back behind the front wheels to provide a 50:50 weight distribution, and in case you need a computer’s help for when you run out of skill, an electronic rear-differential (a first for Aston Martin) will make you look like a pro.
It’s not as wide as the Mercedes AMG GTS it shares an engine with, but it’s still a sizeable width. Instead of adding a pop-up spoiler to the rear to interrupt the silhouette (we’re looking at you, DB11), Aston stuck a gorgeous and large diffuser at the rear of what is inarguably the sexiest back-end of any car on sale today.
The only parts that are carried over from the previous Vantage are the door handles. But when they’re as sleek and fitting to those elegant swan doors, why should we care? However, look to the front, and you’ll notice the mesh grill sitting awfully low and there’s a questionable bulge on the bonnet. The new V8 didn’t require the air vents, now that the air flows through the grill, up into a passageway in the bulge and down at the turbos to provide cooling.
With a shared engine bay with the DB11, we can’t help but think this bulge and large space will pave the way for Aston’s in-house V12 to be fitted in the future. Unlike the DB11, the bonnet opens in the conventional manner, although it’s still forged from one piece of aluminium.
Inside you’ll find Aston’s usual high-quality materials, with leather and aluminium featured throughout. If you wish, the car can be customised in almost its entirety. If you’re feeling inspired by James Bond, request for one with pop-up machine guns and an ejector seat for when your passenger is being a nuisance. Add to that Mercedes’ latest COMMAND system and gone are the days when it was all looks and no substance in Aston’s in-car media department.
For a two-seater hatchback, there’s actually a lot of luggage space — 350 litres and a nifty privacy shelf that opens and closes, to be exact. In the boot, you’ll find the infamous umbrella, something that you’ll be treated to in all British luxury cars.
The Vantage is suave, sophisticated, edgy, and actually inspired by the DB10 from the Spectre film. If you happen to be a Bond aficionado, sports car enthusiast, or even an art lover, this is the car you’d want to put your name down for.
(All images: Aston Martin)